Pecan pie! Honey-glazed ham! Candy cane truffles! Holiday food can inspire anxiety or bliss—or both—depending on your mind-set. Here’s the good news: The average weight gain for the holiday season is just one pound. Now for the bad: While that might not sound like much, research shows we don't lose it, and that one pound can add up year after year.

Sweet treats and rich meals can be landmines for health-conscious people, yet no one wants to feel deprived during the happiest season of all! No need to fear, though...there are sensible ways to navigate this territory.

For starters, instead of piling your plate a mile high with things that don’t really tantalize your taste buds, pick only the foods that give you true enjoyment. In other words, if something doesn’t make you swoon, leave it on the sideline. 

Often times, people eat particular foods like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or down cups of eggnog at a Christmas party because "that's what we do during the holidays." Noshing without thinking about what you’re putting into your body and why makes you ignore your internal cues of hunger and satiety. Do you really even like pumpkin pie or eggnog? Or if you could have any treat, would you choose your favorite ice cream or pecan pie instead? Just because it’s limited doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

Something else to consider: Don't be fooled by the "health halo." Sad-but-true, you can gain weight even if you eat healthy. For instance, you can overdo it with the veggies and dip or creamy  asparagus soup , just like you can with ice cream (except with the ice cream at least you know it’s an indulgence). So, make sure you're not eating something based solely on its health-food aura and keep an eye on your portion sizes.

And, speaking of portion sizes, try to remember that to "trim the trimmings". If you think about it, most traditional holiday dishes are really not that unhealthy—think lean  turkey roasted vegetables nuts —but adding in all the additional trimmings to the dishes are what make the calories soar into the stratosphere. Simply eliminate extras such as gravy, cream sauces, butter, and crust on pies, and you'll axe loads of unnecessary calories and fat.

Lastly (and possibly the most importantly), go to social gatherings to gather, not to eat. You go to family gatherings, work parties, and other social events to see your friends and loved ones—so see them! Use these times to socialize and be present rather than rummaging for holiday treats. A good way to do so, is to "pre-eat" something with protein and vegetables to stabilize your blood sugar so you can keep your focus where it belongs: on present company.